Who gives a toss?

Former Sri Lanka captain and current MCC president Kumar Sangakkara did recently reiterate the same reason (confusion stemming from the crowd noise at a packed Wankhede stadium) for the re-toss (2011 World Cup Final) to the Special Investigation Unit, which has given all clean chit to the match.

And according to Sudhir Vaidya, India’s renowned cricket statistician, who incidentally was also ICC’s statistician then, it was not the first instance in the international game when the coin had to be tossed again.

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“In one of the Test matches at Harare, the former ICC match-referee, Jackie Hendricks (West Indies) had asked the Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower to toss it again,” Vaidya, speaking exclusively recalled.

“It happened against Pakistan when Andy Flower tossed the coin, his opposite captain, Salim Malik for some unknown reason shouted ‘Bird’ instead of calling a ‘head’ or a ‘tail’. The bird, an eagle is of course the national symbol of Zimbabwe which also decorates one side of a coin. The bird side of the coin was clearly visible as it fell. Pakistan captain claimed the toss and was congratulated by the home captain when Malik decided to bat,”

says Vaidya.

“The match-referee disputed the toss and the call made by Salim Malik and ordered the toss to be retaken.” Perhaps the match-referee was in the knowledge of another incident a couple of years ago in New Zealand when it was Salim Malik again who instead of calling head or tail had mumbled something in Urdu and had claimed the toss against Ken Rutherford, the New Zealand captain who had protested but reluctantly accepted Malik’s version.

“At Lord’s in 1979 both Mike Brearley and Venkat thought they had won the toss (not sure if this is recorded anywhere but I was there!). Luckily Brearley wanted to bowl and Venkat wanted to bat! Eventually Brearley shrugged and said “Let him have the toss then”. Brearley was right: England then bowled India out for 96,” Cricinfo’s renowned statistician Steven Lynch noted.

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